Endorsement watch: Bell again

The Chron re-endorses Chris Bell in the runoff for SD17.

With his commitment to bolstering public education, reining in college tuition increases, and controlling skyrocketing insurance premiums, the Chronicle believes that Chris Bell is the best candidate to represent the diverse district in the Texas Senate.

Bell served two full terms on Houston City Council and one term as a congressman before losing to Al Green in a redrawn district. He was the Democratic nominee for governor in 2006, coming in second in a four-candidate field behind Republican Rick Perry.

While on City Council Bell chaired the ethics panel that drew up new guidelines regulating campaign contributions and the activities of lobbyists. While in Congress, he filed ethics complaints against then-Majority Leader Tom DeLay, presaging DeLay’s eventual resignation.


Bell, a former news reporter and practicing lawyer, says his previous political experience has educated him about the concerns of Texans. According to Bell, “even before Hurricane Ike hit and even before the meltdown on Wall Street, people here in Texas were starting to feel a sense of insecurity, seeing school districts forced into crisis funding modes.” He promises to make education issues a top early priority if elected, while working to create coalitions with members of both parties.

District 17 will benefit from being represented by a veteran elected official with statewide name recognition and a proven commitment to high ethical standards. The Chronicle urges constituents to make a special effort to go to the polls and cast their ballots for Bell.

Bell is clearly best on the issues, and the Senate will be a much better place with him in it. But this is a runoff, and stuff like that isn’t what drives elections like this. It’s all about turnout

Lawmakers designed District 17 to lean Republican. And low-turnout elections often provide Republicans with an edge. Democrats, pointing to the fact that Bell and Democrat Stephanie Simmons combined won a majority of the Nov. 4 vote, say change is afoot.

“This has been an unusual year, politically. I don’t think there are any prior elections that we can use necessarily as a model to predict who will come out in higher numbers in this election,” said Huffman, who lives in Southside Place. “I am working very hard and asking voters to come back out to vote for me.”

Houstonian Bell, referring to his efforts cajoling Democratic voters to return to the polls, said, “It really comes down to who has a better ‘ground game,’ and I am willing to bet that we do.”

Once again, you can help with that ground game. First things first, though – make sure that you yourself get out and vote if you’re a resident of SD17. If you’re not sure, or if someone who isn’t sure about himself asks you, go to http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/ and plug in your address to find out. And if you’ve got a little spare change that’s burning a hole in your pocket, you can make a donation to Team Bell. Whatever you can do to help, please do it. Thanks very much.

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